Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) - A new mass abduction of students from a school in the English-speaking area of Cameroon, carried out by guerrillas demanding independence from the rest of the country. On 16 February 2019, unidentified gunmen came into the campus of Saint Augustine’s College, in the northwest region, shortly after 6 a.m., and abducted some members of the College Community. They took along 170 students, 2 college security guards, one teacher and three of his children.
The abductees were released sometime in the afternoon of Sunday 17 February 2019. Shortly after that, they assembled in the main mission station of St Paul’s Parish, Kikaikom. From there, they were conveyed by the authorities of the Diocese of Kumbo, back to the college Campus. Following the serious episode, the school was temporarily closed.
A statement from the diocese states that "the Bishop of Kumbo and the school authorities of Saint Augustine’s College, Nso regret this incident, and sincerely sympathize with all the children and their families. They render gratitude to all the sympathizers and persons of goodwill, who gave them moral support in these two days of grave concern and anxiety".
On November 5, the secessionist activists had kidnapped about eighty students from the Presbyterian Secondary School of Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest region. The children were released after a few days (see Fides, 7/11/2018). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/2/2019)